Hamilton ready to scale his own Everest

Fri Oct 23, 2015 10:27pm EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Lewis Hamilton will achieve the dream of a lifetime if he secures his third Formula One world championship in Austin on Sunday but he will then face a question as big as Texas: What next?

Like a mountaineer one step away from conquering the highest peak, the Mercedes driver knows he also stands on the edge of uncertainty as he goes into the U.S. Grand Prix.

Without wanting to preempt anything, go into 'ifs' and 'buts' or even acknowledge that the weekend felt in any way out of the ordinary, Hamilton recognized that he would have to refocus his career ambitions.

"I could imagine that, for me it would be like getting to the top of Mount Everest. I mean, what do you do next?" he said of the prospect of matching the three titles of his boyhood hero, the late Brazilian Ayrton Senna.

The answer for most would simply be win more championships and races, but Senna's triple has a particular resonance for Hamilton.

The 30-year-old, who has already overtaken the Brazilian's tally of race wins, has always wanted to win three. Not seven like Michael Schumacher, or four like Sebastian Vettel, but to do what Senna did.

As he said in Japan two weeks ago, he never aspired to be like any other driver.

"There's no higher mountain but there are equally tough challenges in maybe lower mountains. Things just change, so I really don’t know," said the Briton, as he continued to ponder how he might react.   Continued...

Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain drives during the first practice session of the U.S. F1 Grand Prix at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas, October 23, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Stone